Christmas Dinner at Church – Each year, James and Kirra Wallace (from night church) arrange dinner at 6pm Christmas Day at church for anyone who would like to share this time together.  It’s informal and all are welcome, but you need to let them know you’re coming for catering purposes! Text or call James on 0421 517 953 to book.  See you there. Thanks James and Kirra—legends!

Giving to Church over the holiday period – During December & January our expenses remain the same but often member giving reduces as people are away on holidays or haven’t budgeted to give during this period. So to enable us to keep our expenses covered by our income our leadership does ask that our members continue to support us as normal through this period.  Our 2018 budget needs  a 1.5% increase over 2017, giving, so if members are able to make this small increase this will also help us keep our ministry on track.  Again we are very grateful to our members, most of whom give generously and regularly.  Using electronic or envelopes are the recommended method because this ensures steady and reliable funding, allowing us to plan responsibly.

Fresh Start 2018 – Each year in January I have found it a helpful refreshment to read through the 4 Gospel over 4 weeks.  I will be doing this again in 2018 and again invite any and every member of our church to join with me.  Last year those in Primary School and those in their 90’s joined in.  If you add your name to the Fresh Start sign up sheet I’ll send you by email or SMS an encouragement or comment on our reading (but not every day!)  It takes about 10 to 15mins depending on how fast you read.

What Christmas Cost God?-Christmas is getting more and more expensive for some in our society as expectations increase and some seek to fulfil their “bucket list”.  But I’ve found it helpful to ask “what did Christmas cost God?”  Love, it seems to me, can often be measured by what someone is prepared to give up for the one they love.  In wars soldiers lay down their lives for people they love.  Parents will sacrifice and go without so that their children can have a better life.  Missionaries give up the security and safety of home to bring Jesus to unreached people they love.   A Christian will give up the opportunity for revenge to love and forgive another.   At Christmas what did God give up for those he loves? Jesus gave up the safety and security of heaven to become a vulnerable, dependent baby – totally reliant on his parents and others for his comfort and health.  He gave up his power to protect himself and allowed others to reject, mock, abuse, hurt and eventually kill him.  He gave up his comfort.  He eventually gave up his wonderful relationship with the Father and the Spirit on the cross as he faced the punishment of Hell there for our sin “my God, why have you forsaken me” he cried.  He chose to become human, one of us, not just temporarily for 39 years or so, but for all eternity.  The body they crucified and then he was resurrected.  He continues to be God/Man for ever.  That’s just a little of how much God loves us – that’s a little of how much it cost God to love us.

Hon. Scott Morrison (MP) on Same Sex Marriage – Mr Morrison has spoken very helpfully on this issue from a Christian perspective, when he addressed it in parliament recently.  I commend his speeches to you for your consideration.  He was, in my view, very insightful in drawing a distinction between a secular state (which we are) with a separation of church and state (church Jesus endorsed) and secular humanist society (which Australia never has been).

Your brother in Christ, Graham